Robert E. Goodin

Robert E. Goodin
Australian National University | ANU · School of Philosophy

About

298
Publications
20,391
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
10,169
Citations

Publications

Publications (298)
Article
Full-text available
One instrumental defense of democracy is epistemic in character: Insofar as there is a correct answer to be found to some question being politically addressed, democratic decision-making procedures are more likely to find it than any other. But that assumes that the correct answer appears on the agenda in the first place, and that the agenda is not...
Article
Sometimes you risk contributing to a wrongdoing occurring in ways that are themselves wrong. Some would however say that you have not (yet) done anything wrong, just so long as you retain control over whether or not the wrongdoing occurs. There may be good pragmatic reasons for legal codes to be written in that way, but morally there are no good pr...
Article
For cosmopolitans, global democracy is valuable both in itself and as a means to global justice. Their preferred principle of political enfranchisement is the All Affected Principle which, given global interdependencies, means that virtually everyone should have a vote virtually everywhere. Anti-cosmopolitans want to resist that conclusion. They tr...
Article
Full-text available
Peter French’s and Steven Ratner’s thoughtful comments are helpful in advancing the analysis we offered in our book On Complicity and Compromise. Inevitably, there are areas of disagreement and bones to pick. However, our primary concern in this reply will be to press, with their assistance, the more positive agenda.
Article
Everyone agrees we have duties of charity, however restrictive a view they take of our duties of justice. But duties of charity can sometimes be stronger than duties of justice, and where they are, those owed duties of justice cannot complain when the duty-bearer discharges that duty of charity instead. Furthermore, duties of charity, being imperfe...
Article
Some believe that the mere beneficiaries of wrongdoing of others ought to disgorge their tainted benefits. Others deny that claim. Both sides of this debate concentrate on unavoidable beneficiaries of the wrongdoing of others, who are presumed themselves to be innocent by virtue of the fact they have neither contributed to the wrong nor could they...
Article
Theories of deliberation, developed largely in the context of domestic politics, are becoming increasingly relevant for international politics. The recently established Universal Periodic Review (UPR) operating under the auspices of the UN’s Human Rights Council is an excellent illustration. Our analysis of responses to its reports and recommendati...
Chapter
Political theorists of old had much to say about war and peace, and issues arising from them. Those political theorists of universalist inclination have always insisted that the same principles should apply everywhere alike. In political theory, as in political practice, proffered rules governing relations among and across principalities tended to...
Article
Solidarity is supposed to facilitate collective action. We argue that it can also help overcome false consciousness. Groups practice ‘epistemic solidarity’ if they pool information about what is in their true interest and how to vote accordingly. The more numerous ‘Masses’ can in this way overcome the ‘Elites,’ but only if they are minimally confid...
Article
Although once a classic democratic ideal, rotation in office is nowadays seen more as a natural consequence of competitive elections than a goal in its own right. But this article proposes that a strict rota, with each group taking a turn in office, might be preferable to ordinary electoral democracy in certain sorts of countries: nascent democraci...
Article
This chapter discusses the Theory of Second-Best, an alternative, non-ideal approach in policymaking. Given that "the real world" cannot guarantee ideal actions in ideal circumstances, the "first-best" or ideal option may be rendered moot. The Second-Best theory offers partial solutions and strategies to mitigate this lack of an ideal, thereby maki...
Article
The democratic egalitarian ideal requires that everyone should enjoy equal power over the world through voting. If it is improper to vote twice in the same election, why should it be permissible for dual citizens to vote in two different places? Several possible excuses are considered and rejected.
Article
There are many different ways of responding to wrongdoing: person-centered or object-centered, victim-centered or perpetrator-centered, and fault-oriented or not. Among these approaches, requiring innocent beneficiaries to disgorge the fruits of historical wrongdoings of others is attractive because it is informationally the least demanding. Althou...
Article
Full-text available
The Federalist, justifying the Electoral College to elect the president, claimed that a small group of more informed individuals would make a better decision than the general mass. But the Condorcet Jury Theorem tells us that the more independent, better-than-random voters there are, the more likely it will be that the majority among them will be c...
Article
One of the most exciting innovations within ‘practical democratic theory’ in recent years has been the emergence of deliberative democracy, as a theoretically refined ideal with by now some well‐honed mechanisms for its implementation on a small scale. Its greatest remaining challenge is to figure out some way to connect those highly controlled, sm...
Article
In a culture that worships ceaseless striving, "settling" seems like giving up. But is it? On Settling defends the positive value of settling, explaining why this disdained practice is not only more realistic but more useful than an excessive ideal of striving. In fact, the book makes the case that we'd all be lost without settling--and that even t...
Article
International Organizations (IOs) are nowadays independent and central actors in global affairs. They are, however, faced with unprecedented challenges arising from the increasing interdependence in economic, political and financial affairs. Those new circumstances do not only call for novel institutional and procedural approaches that can offer ef...
Article
Bracket out the wrong of committing a wrong, or conspiring or colluding or conniving with others in their committing one. Suppose you have done none of those things, and you find yourself merely benefiting from a wrong committed wholly by someone else. What, if anything, is wrong with that? What, if any, duties follow from it? If straightforward re...
Article
abstractComplicity with wrongdoing comes in many forms and many degrees. We distinguish subcategories cooperation, collaboration and collusion from connivance and condoning, identifying their defining features and assessing their characteristic moral valences. We illustrate the use of these distinctions by reference to events in refugee camps in an...
Article
Jus cogens are peremptory norms of international law. No treaty between states can violate them. They are based on fundamental moral precepts and are supposed to reflect a global consensus. As a result, the views of the people of the world – not just states and courts and international lawyers – ought to be assessed as part of that. Direct democrat...
Article
Proposals to lower the age of voting, to 15 for example, are regularly met with worries that people that age are not sufficiently ‘competent’. Notice however that we allow people that age to sign binding legal contracts, provided that those contracts are co-signed by their parents. Notice, further, that in a democracy voters are collectively ‘joint...
Article
No one is excused from doing what he ought to do merely because he is unwilling to do it. But what if others are unwilling to play their necessary role in some joint venture that you all ought to undertake: might that excuse you from doing what you yourself ought to do as part of that? It would, if you were genuinely willing to play your necessary...
Article
Ignorance of the law is no excuse, or so we are told. But why not? The statute books run to hundreds of volumes. How can an ordinary citizen know what is in them? The best way might be for law (at least in its wide-scope duty-conferring aspects) to track broad moral principles that ordinary citizens can know and apply for themselves. In contrast to...
Article
Lawyers talk of the common law offence of ‘perverting the course of justice’ by bribing or intimidating judges or jurors, lying to the police or court, concealing or destroying or fabricating evidence. This article argues that the same things are wrong, and wrong for the same reasons, politically as judicially: they prevent people from knowing and...
Article
Full-text available
The aspiration of the "Democracy Unbound" project was to extend democracy in two dimensions: Range and scope. The former would give a wider range of people the vote. The latter would give people a wider scope of things to vote on. In practice, no doubt there is room to do much more of both. But whereas it would be democratically justifiable in an i...
Article
Distributive justice is ordinarily calibrated in monetary terms. But money is not the only resource that matters to people. Talk of the ‘work−life balance’ points to another: time. Control over one's time, the capacity to spend it as one wishes, is another important resource; and its distribution raises another important aspect of justice. Here I d...
Article
Journals have personalities. To some extent those are coterminous with the personalities and proclivities of their current editors. A journal's personality is also moulded by its past and its path to the present. Journals are powerfully shaped by the circumstances of their birth and their early years. They evolve over time to fit an academic niche....
Article
Full-text available
Judging from Gallup Polls in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, opinion often changes during an election campaign. Come election day itself, however, opinion often reverts back nearer to where it was before the campaign began. That that happens even in Australia, where voting is compulsory and turnout is near-universal, suggests...
Article
Sunstein's Infotopia offers four reasons for thinking that information-pooling via mechanical aggregation of votes is superior to discursive sharing of opinions. This article focuses on two of them—the Common Knowledge Effect and Group Polarisation—showing that both phenomena might have perfectly good Bayesian explanations. Far from constituting 'e...
Article
The vast majority of countries in the world have stood in an “associative relation” of a colonial sort with some other country or countries, at sometime or another. The aim of this article is to probe the implications of that brute fact for contemporary debates regarding the scope of global distributive justice. The legacy of colonialism poses hug...
Article
This is a wonderful book.1 I say so on the book's back jacket, and I reiterate that at the start of this commentary. It’s a book that could have only been written by someone with a lawyer’s eye for detail; but it's also a book that could only have been written by someone with a sophisticated political philosopher’s appreciation of the deeper purpos...
Article
This article examines a story of the limits of high ambition in policy studies and policy making. It looks at the way those limits have been appreciated and how more modest ambitions have been made. The article also examines the difficulties of modest learning and reveals some of the most basic truths: policy and policy making is mostly a matter of...
Book
The Oxford Handbook of Public Policy mines all the traditions of public policy. Public policy is the business end of political science. It is where theory meets practice in the pursuit of the public good. Political scientists approach public policy in myriad ways. Some approach the policy process descriptively, asking how the need for public interv...
Article
Le GrandJulian, The Other Invisible Hand: Delivering Public Services through Choice and Competition. Princeton University Press, 2007. ISBN-13:978-0-691-12936-5. Paperback, xi+195 p. - Volume 28 Issue 2 - Robert E. Goodin
Article
Deliberative democrats offer 'talk as a decision procedure'. This chapter argues that it is a good 'discovery procedure', particularly because of the way it expands the agenda; but talk is a flawed 'decision procedure' because 'path dependency' can render its outcomes indeterminate or arbitrary. A risk of path dependency is inevitable, insofar as t...
Book
In recent years, democratic theory has taken a deliberative turn. Instead of merely casting the occasional ballot, deliberative democrats want citizens to reason together. They embrace 'talk as a decision procedure'. But of course thousands or millions of people cannot realistically talk to one another all at once. When putting their theories into...
Chapter
This chapter identifies three different accountability regimes associated with each of the main sectors of society: the state, the market, and the voluntary non-profit sector. Each focuses on a different subject of accountability (actions, results, and intentions, respectively) and on a different mechanism of accountability (hierarchy, competition,...
Chapter
In any large and complex community, deliberation cannot realistically take place in the agora (or its electronic equivalent), with everyone potentially affected by the decision taking an active part in all the deliberations. Deliberative democracy, in such a world, simply has to work on and through our inherited institutions of representative democ...
Chapter
Democratic theorists often place deliberative innovations such as Citizen's Juries, Consensus Conferences, Planning Cells, and Deliberative Polls at the centre of their hopes for deliberative democratization. This chapter charts the ways in which such minipublics can impact on the 'macro' world of politics. Impact may come in the form of actually m...
Chapter
Constituting the demos - deciding who gets a say, or a vote - is the first task of any democracy, but it is a topic on which democratic theory has surprisingly little to offer. 'Enfranchising all affected interests' is a good start. When unpacked, however, it turns out that the most defensible version of that rule requires us to extend membership i...
Chapter
Insofar as the reason 'why' we want deliberative democracy is just to pool information, what justifies so much emphasis among deliberative democrats on talking face-to-face to the exclusion of other equally good ways of pooling information? This chapter develops a contrast between two ways of pooling information: mechanically (through vote counting...
Chapter
This chapter develops a principled role for political parties. What would be lacking in a polity that is perfectly democratic but that has no parties? The answer is: the politics of ideas, systematically pursued. Democracy requires that a community is collectively selflegislating; a 'ratio' is required to have truly 'given a law to yourself', and t...
Chapter
Political deliberation involves both internal reflection and public discussion. The former might be far more important than implied by deliberative democrats' heavy emphasis the discursive component. Analysis of the deliberations of a citizen's jury on an Australian environmental issue shows jurors' attitudes changing more in response to the 'infor...
Article
Talk about global democracy seems to be fixated on a Reform-Act model of democracy, with 'one person one vote for all affected by the decisions' as for example in a second popularly-apportioned chamber of UN. Politically, that seems wildly unrealistic. But remember that the Reform Acts came very late in process of democratization domestically. The...
Article
Deliberative democrats enjoin participants in ideal speech situations never to lie. But game theorists show that people can have purely truth-based motives for strategically misrepresenting information they hold privately when they are deliberating with others. If deliberative democrats want to ensure that every participant in the deliberation full...
Article
Kai Spiekermann shows how groups of people cooperating purely for mutual advantage could solve social dilemmas by `assortation', deftly including and excluding people from the group of people who are cooperating among themselves. This article explores the normative implications of that result, casting further doubt on normative models treating just...
Article
Full-text available
Issues concerning technological risk have increasingly become the subject of deliberative exercises involving participation of ordinary citizens. The most popular topic for deliberation has been genetically modified (GM) foods. Despite the varied circumstances of their establishment, deliberative "minipublics" almost always produce recommendations...
Article
Philosophers who complain about the ‹demandingness’ of morality forget that a morality can make too few demands as well as too many. What we ought be seeking is an appropriately demanding morality. This article recommends a ‹moral satisficing’ approach to determining when a morality is ‹demanding enough’, and an institutionalized solution to keepin...
Book
A healthy work-life balance has become increasingly important to people trying to cope with the pressures of contemporary society. This trend highlights the fallacy of assessing well-being in terms of finance alone; how much time we have matters just as much as how much money. The authors of this book have developed a novel way to measure ‘discreti...
Chapter
Unsuccessful AdaptationsAnother Approach: Deliberation WithinDangers of Internal DeliberationInforming the Democratic ImaginationFrom Democratic Deliberation to Democratic LegitimacyNotes
Article
Full-text available
In multi-party democracies, several parties usually have to join together in coalition to form government. Many aspects of that process have been fairly fully investigated, others less so. Among the latter is the timing of the formation and announcement of coalitions. While the dominant popular image may be one of parties meeting together after the...
Article
abstract‘Time is money’, Benjamin Franklin's ‘Poor Richard’ tells us. But instead of converting time expenditures into monetary equivalents, it makes more sense in many cases to convert money into temporal equivalents. The difficulty in putting a monetary value on time in unpaid household labour, when adjusting the National Accounts, points to the...
Article
William Niskanen's theory of Bureaucracy and Representative Government predicts that the interaction of rational vote-maximizing politicians and rational budget-maximizing bureaucrats will lead to an oversupply of bureaucratic goods and services. The demand, supply and motivational components of this model are all shown to be flawed; and the oversu...
Article
There may be many perfectly good reasons, of a purely pragmatic sort, for policy-making by voluntary agreement between regulators and those whose conduct is to be regulated. Pragmatism aside, however, policy-makers characteristically claim that that strategy is also morally superior to legislative compulsion. That claim is incorrect. Voluntary agre...
Article
Full-text available
Governments routinely create new organizations to deal with emerging or persistent problems. It is a real challenge for these `upstarts' to build a robust organization that is considered legitimate by political stakeholders. The challenge is twofold: the new organization has to create the capacity to effectively and efficiently perform its formal m...
Article
Full-text available
Time pressure is a familiar phenomenon. The quantity of spare time people have clearly effects their satisfaction with their leisure and with their life as a whole. But so too, we show, does how much control people have over how much spare time they have. We measure this through an indicator of ‘discretionary time’, which proves to be equally or mo...

Network

Cited By